Nearly two million people have been affected by the floods in Bihar. The floods have claimed the lives of more than one dozen people, washed away thousands of thatched huts, severely damaged houses, roads, bridges and standing crops worth crores, officials on Monday, July 15, said.
After heavy rains in Bihar and the catchment areas of it’s neighbour Nepal, the water levels of the Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati, Budhi Gandak and Ganga rivers have been rising to dangerous levels for the last forty eight hours. Due to the rising water level of the rivers, the state Water Resources Department has issued a flood alert in the flood-prone north Bihar districts bordering Nepal.
According to officials, river water gushed to hundreds of villages as well as, over a dozen towns, affecting nine districts in the state which created havoc among the people.
Angry over official negligence for preparations to face floods and inadequate relief and rescue operations, flood victims have not only expressed their unhappiness and protests, they have opposed the visit of two BJP Members of Parliament (MPs). In Madhubani district, Jhanjharpur MP Rampreet Mandal faced the wrath of people in Naruar village when he visited the area and was returning without any assurance of rescue operations following the breach of embankment of Kamla Balan river. Local police authorities managed to rescue him from protesting people. “A group of angry flood victims tried to manhandle Mandal,” district official told NewsClick.
Similarly in Farbisganj in Araria district, Araria BJP MP Pradip Kumar Singh was gheraoed (ambushed) by angry flood victims over lack of relief materials. Some of them shouted slogans like “Go Back MP” and expressed their resentment .
Bihar Disaster Management Department officials said that nearly 19.65 lakh people in 9 districts have been affected by floods in the state. More than 1 million people were affected alone, in the worst-hit district of Sitamarhi’s twelve blocks in last three days. Other districts affected by floods are Araria, Kishanganj, Madhubani, Sheohar, East Champaran, Supaul, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.
However, reports reaching here suggest that thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes after their villages inundated.They have taken shelters at high rise places including embankments under open sky, National Highways (NHs), school buildings and government buildings.
According to officials of water resource department, most of the major rivers are flowing above the danger mark. Embankments of Kamla Balan breached at three places in Darbhanga district, Bagmati river embankment breached in Sheohar district.
“Pressure on embankments has increased after rise of water level in rivers in the last 48 hours,”an official told NewsClick here. More than 3 lakh people of 130 villages living within embankments of Koshi in Supaul district have been affected by the floods.
In Sheohar, water entered the premises of the office of District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police. Railway stations in Jogbani in Araria and Kisganganj were flooded, leaving scores of passengers stranded. Reports reaching here said flood waters had submerged National Highway and State Highway at several places in the inundated districts.
In view of the worsening flood situation, the state government has cancelled the leave of doctors and health department officials in flood-hit districts. The state disaster management department has asked people living in low lying areas to move to higher places as heavy rains continue.
"The flood situation in Bihar will continue to be grim following rising water levels of rivers and incessant rains," MeT department officials said. Major rivers in the state including the Koshi, Mahananda, Gandak, Bagmati and Ganga are in spate and some rivers have breached their banks and embankments, officials said.
The government has launched massive relief and rescue operations with help from the local police as well as National Disaster Response Force and Bihar State Disaster Response Force teams. Nitish Kumar had told officials to speed up rescue and relief work after conducting an aerial survey of flood hit districts on Sunday.
According to officials, crops worth crores were damaged and road links to several places have been snapped.